Fantastica Mania 2018

I watched the four Fantastica Mania shows that were taped in full and rated all 25 matches! Which means I spent a good amount of time just so I could write the letters “OK” next to something that, if you know where to look to watch it, you were probably going to watch anyway.

Fantasticamania – Nagoya
NJPW/CMLL – 2018-01-12
File’s on RealHero Archive, approximate timestamps for matches included below.

1) Drone vs Disturbio – 0:03 – OK
2) Fuego & Star Jr. vs Okumura & Puma – 0:14 – OK
3) Ángel de Oro, Jushin Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask vs Cuatrero, Rocky Romero, SHO, YOH – 0:30 – OK
4) Niebla Roja, Soberano Jr., Volador Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Gran Guerrero, Sansón – 0:49 – FUN
5) Dragón Lee, Hirai Kawato, Kushida, Satoshi Kojima vs Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito – 1:07 – FUN
6) Atlantis, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico vs Gedo, Kazuchika Okada, Último Guerrero – 1:31 – FUN

Best match was the fourth, though the Ingobernables match had a good atmosphere. No particular matches really worth going out of your way to see, this was the first show of the tour. Main event wasn’t that good of a match, though Mistico and Ultimo Guerrero were very good. Tanahashi has no reason on Earth to be wrestling any matches on this tour.

Notables:
– I laughed out loud repeatedly at Okada being unable to correctly raise the roof.
– Puma does an appeal to the crowd and then the Casita but it gets no reaction. Probably because nobody in Nagoya at a New Japan show gets his connection to Negro Casas.
– They do very weird entrance orders that cause the Mexican announce to start to call match 3 as a trios match after all the New Japan guys are in the ring before the ref tells him to wait because Cuatrero and Angel de Oro are getting their own separate ring entrances.
– There’s like two minutes of Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi that is as beautiful and perfect as it always is.
– Soberano Jr. continues to be one of the best in the world (and he’s still only 24 years old).

Fantasticamania 2018 – Korakuen Hall Night One
NJPW/CMLL – 2018-01-19
NJPW World

1) Fuego vs Okumura – 0:10 – BAD
2) Dragón Lee, Hirai Kawato, Satoshi Kojima, Star Jr. vs Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito – 0:21 – FUN
3) Atlantis, Drone, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario, Disturbio, Puma, Último Guerrero – 0:48 – FUN
4) Ángel de Oro © vs Cuatrero [CMLL MIDDLE] – 1:25 – GOOD
5) Soberano Jr. © vs Sansón [MEX WELTER] – 1:42 – GREAT
6) Niebla Roja © vs Gran Guerrero [CMLL LH] – 2:00 – GREAT

I liked match 5 slightly more than 6, but they were both really good. Soberano is one of my favorite wrestlers and Sansón’s charisma is undeniable. Both Dinamitas did a good job in singles competition. The last three matches are definitely worth your time.

Notables:
– I have no fucking time in 2018 for a “valet kiss” moment, much less one that ends with Okumura slapping Mima. Give me a break.
– Rush’s wife and son are seen at the end as he walks out after the match, his son has on a “Muñoz Family Hybrid Mask” incorporating Pierroth, Rush, Mistico, and Dragon Lee.
– Atlantis can barely go since he just got off a long injury layoff and he’s so old. Glad they took this into account when booking the card.
– Crowd was good. Really bummed that they have to mute all the music because it means they mute all the intros by the Mexican announcer.

Fantasticamania 2018 – Korakuen Hall Night Two
NJPW/CMLL – 2018-01-21
NJPW World

1) Drone & Star Jr. vs Disturbio & Puma – 0:14 – SKIPPABLE
2) Fuego, Ryusuke Taguchi, Soberano Jr. vs Okumura, SHO, YOH – 0:29 – FUN
3) Atlantis, Hirai Kawato, Kushida, Satoshi Kojima vs Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito – 0:48 – FUN
4) Ángel de Oro & Niebla Roja vs Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero [CMLL Hermanos, semifinal] – 1:21 – GOOD
5) Dragón Lee & Mistico vs Cuatrero & Sansón [CMLL Hermanos, semifinal] – 1:43 – OK
6) Volador Jr. © vs Bárbaro Cavernario [NWA WELTER] – 1:59 – EXCELLENT

Main event was outstanding, with both guys getting their moves in and the crowd and commentary heightening the drama.

Notables:
– Drone and Disturbio had a real bad night here, and this is not the type of show you want to have a bad night.
– Taguchi was on fire here. Wasn’t a fan of the “face in Mima’s ass” spot but it’s more forgivable in a comedy bit.
– Soberano continues to shine.
– Thanking the heavens that Atlantis has been talked out of doing a dive.
– Cuatrero and Sansón did not have it as a team tonight. Mistico wasn’t great either, Dragón Lee was the glue in that match. Disappointing first night to the Brothers Tournament.
– The single track generic music overdub is worse than silence.

Fantasticamania 2018 – Korakuen Hall Night Three
NJPW/CMLL – 2018-01-22
NJPW World

1) Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Disturbio & Puma – 0:10 – GOOD
2) Jushin Liger, Kushida, Star Jr., Tiger Mask vs Okumura, Rocky Romero, SHO, YOH – 0:25 – OK
3) Ángel de Oro & Niebla Roja vs Cuatrero & Sansón [CMLL Hermanos, third place] – 0:43 – GOOD
4) Atlantis & Hirai Kawato vs Bárbaro Cavernario & Gedo – 0:58 – OK
5) Drone, Soberano Jr., Volador Jr. vs Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito – 1:12 – FUN
6) Satoshi Kojima vs Rush – 1:30 – GREAT
7) Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero vs Dragón Lee & Mistico [CMLL Hermanos, final] – 1:48 – GOOD

I probably over-rated the Rush match due to my bias towards Rush matches and the fact that they let him do one in Korakuen Hall, but I stand by my rating for that one.

Notables:
– Fuego and Taguchi need to be a permanent team. The crowd shots made it appear as if they have made a lot of money selling paper mummy tomb masks emblazoned with a 69. Good for Ryusuke.
– Cuatrero and Sansón had a better night tonight. My hypothesis is that they wore underwear tights last night and the underwear tights are cursed.
– Good luck to Kawato in Mexico. I hope he gets to wrestle Police Man and Kraneo.
– Maybe they will let Soberano stay in Japan. But Rush should be in the G1 and he should win it.
– Rush’s young son got in the ring with his uncles Mistico and Dragon Lee at the end. I made a gif of it below.

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